Lionsgate is the latest studio to jump on the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc bandwagon, joining three other majors – 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures and Warner Bros. – who have earlier vowed their support.
Lionsgate, however, is the first studio to announce a specific release date. “Sicario,” “The Last Witch Hunter,” “Ender’s Game,” and “The Expendables 3” will be available March 1, 2016, timed to the arrival in the market of the first 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc players (from Samsung).
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs feature four times the resolution of HD and include high dynamic range (HDR), which produces brilliant highlights, vibrant colors and greater contrast on compatible displays – said to be more like what the human eye can see. Many titles also support next-generation immersive audio formats.
For optimal sound quality, the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs for “Sicario,” “Ender’s Game” and “The Expendables 3” feature next-generation object-based Dolby Atmos audio, while “The Last Witch Hunter” delivers cinematic audio with advanced, object-based DTS:X Audio.
“As we were with Blu-ray, we are proud to again be at the forefront of a new format and excited to offer consumers the highest quality home viewing experience possible with the 4K disc being the premiere showcase,” said Ron Schwartz, home entertainment president for Lionsgate. “These four films are uniquely suited to show consumers how incredible this new format can be with a truly immersive experience complementing the new hardware capabilities.”
Each 4K UHD release will be packaged with a Blu-ray Disc and Digital HD copy and will contain all previously released special features. “Sicario” and “The Last Witch Hunter” will be available at the suggested retail price of $42.99. “Ender’s Game” and “The Expendables 3” will be priced at $22.99 SRP.
At the just-concluded CES event in Las Vegas, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment president Mike Dunn speculated that more than 100 Ultra 4K Blu-ray Disc titles would be available by the end of the year.
Aside from 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros. and now Lionsgate, the independent Shout! Factory also has announced its intent to release 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs, with an initial slate drawn from IMAX theatrical releases.
Shout! Factory titles include “Journey to Space” (narrated by Patrick Stewart), “Humpback Whales” (narrated by Ewan McGregor), “Flight of the Butterflies,” “Rocky Mountain Express,” “Wonders of the Arctic” (narrated by Victor Garber) and “The Last Reef: Cities Beneath the Sea.”
“Space” and “Whales” will be the first to cometo market, in late spring or early summer.